THT 10 YEARS AGO: Taxis with identical number plates!

Kathmandu, May 14, 2008

Two taxis with identical registration numbers — Ba 1 Ja 1357 — were seen at the Metropolitan Police Traffic Division (MPTD) this afternoon. Prem Krishna Shahi, owner of a green-coloured taxi, said he was thinking of visiting the Transport Management Office because he had heard another taxi was also operating, sporting the same registration number.

“On the way to the office, I saw a white-coloured taxi with registration number Ba 1 Ja 1357 at New Road and asked the driver of the taxi to come to the traffic police station,” he told reporters. Shahi said he had bought the taxi and blue book eight years ago. Chandrajit Lama, driver of the white-coloured taxi, said he had been driving the taxi for five days. “I do not know who the real owner of the taxi is.

As per an agreement, I have been making weekly payments to one Madhav Kunwar. I have been driving the cab during daytime and paying the stipulated amount to Kunwar on weekly basis,” he said. DSP Yagya Thapa said, “The blue book of the white-coloured taxi is original, but the signature of the official, who issued the blue book, is forged,” he said.

Thapa said police will take action against the owner of the white taxi. He said the MPTD has impounded a dozen vehicles running with identical registration numbers.

Swelling Imja lake puts Khumbu region in peril

Kathmandu, May 14, 2008

Imja, a fast-swelling glacial lake, is putting the entire Khumbu region in peril. The region, a popular destination for mountaineers from all over the world, will be swept away if the lake bursts.

Due to global warming, snow of the Himalayan region is melting faster and water is accumulating in southern valleys. Small piles of snow, hardly spotted in the 1960s, are melting and turning into big glacial lakes. Imja is one such lake. The Everest region is one of the hotspots of glacial melting in the Nepal Himalayas.

Out of 20 potentially dangerous glacial lakes in Nepal, 12 lie in this region. A study conducted recently by the United Nations Environment Progamme (UNEP) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) states that Imja is the fastest-retreating glacier in the entire Himalayas. Spotted as a group of small masses of snow in 1962, Imja has now turned into a one square-kilometre lake. “Imja is expanding at an alarming rate. It is growing by 74 metres a year,” says Basanta Shrestha, division head of the IKM-MENTRIS section of the ICIMOD. “We ought to see how the lake is swelling and inform people about it,” he says.

To keep an eye on fasts welling Imja, the ICIMOD has installed a pair of video cameras by the lake. These cameras take pictures of the lake every 10 minutes.